At first glance it might seem that I am just a happy, normal girl who loves to bake and walk her dog. However, I have suffered with an eating disorder since I was 13. It was only in May 2014 when I realised that this Voice in my head was slowly but surely trying to kill me. And so began the long, hard, and painful journey which is recovery...

I want My Cocoa Stained Apron to be a special place...a place for reflection, memories, shared stories...and of course a little bit of cocoa-staining ;) Recovery might be the hardest thing you ever choose to do in this life. But it is also the bravest and best decision you will ever make.:)

Monday, 1 December 2014

And not all the cakes I make are sweet after all... ;) Emmy's fish cakes.:)

Yes, believe it or not, Ganache-Elf's cake-making skills are not only confined to those of the sweet variety. ;)
These little fish cakes make a very yummy dinner or lunch and are far, far superior to anything you would buy in the shops (and much healthier too I bet. ;) They mark an important milestone for me in facing my fear foods...because they contain prawns and I can definitely say, hand on heart, up till this year I would never once have let a prawn enter my cooking or my mouth!! They are very nice served with maybe a few boiled or roasted baby spuds and some nice green veggies like peas, fine beans etc. But DO boil the potatoes with the skins on as I outline below. The first time I made these I made the mistake of peeling them automatically before sticking 'em on to's just what comes naturally to me I never boil potatoes with the skins on!! But trust me it is the way to doing it the "ordinary" way may make you fish cakes too crumbly. I get 8 fish cakes out of this; so generally, depending on how hungry you and your fellow diners are and what you are serving them with, the recipe would serve around 3 or 4. But don't forget you don't have to use them all up on the day you make can freeze some (see step 9 below) and take them out the night before, so that all you have to do at dinner time is whip out a frying pan and grab the olive oil bottle...handy for those busy (or lazy ;) ) days. :)
  • 300g floury potatoes (about 3 mediumish ones :) )
  • 250 g cod fillets, skinned and boned
  • 60 g cooked prawns, cut in half if they're big :(
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • A good sprinkling of herbs ( chopped fresh chives and parsley would be good. But dried mixed herbs are grand too. :) )
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 75 g button/small mushrooms, chopped
  • A few tbsp olive oil
  • 75 g butter, diced
  • salt and pepper

Method :)

  1. Wash the potatoes, and put them in a saucepan covered in water. Bring to the boil. 
  2. Boil them rapidly for about 10 minutes, and then pour out about half of the water into the sink. There should still be some water in the pan, though - just enough so that the potatoes are half-covered. Return the pan to the hob and simmer gently on a medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. 
  3. Drain the remaining water from the potatoes. let them cool for a few minutes, and then, holding them in a teatowel as they will be still quite hot, peel off the skins and discard. As soon as you've done that pop them in a bowl and mash them with a potato masher - but don't add anything to them for the nonce.
  4. Pour the wine and the lemon juice into a heavy based saucepan or large frying pan. Dice 50 g of the butter. Place the fish in the saucepan and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the diced butter all around. 
  5. Put the pan on the hob and cover with a lid. Heat gently, over a low heat until the butter melts. Cook the fish for 10 - 15 minutes, until the flesh flakes easily. Transfer the fish to a plate. Simmer the poaching liquid in the pan for another few minutes, then pour it carefully into the bowl containing the potatoes.
  6. While you are cooking the fish, you can fry the mushrooms too: gently melt the remaining 25 g butter in a small saucepan, and then add the mushrooms and cook gently for about 5 minutes on a low-medium heat until softened and golden brown.
  7. Add the fish fillets and flake with a fork - but don't break them up too much. Season with salt and pepper and then add the egg yolk (perhaps save that egg white for making my very sticky coconut slices ?? ;) ) , the mustard, the chopped herbs, the mushrooms and the prawns.
  8. Mix it all up together - try not to break up the fish pieces too much as you go. Shape the mixture then into eight little patties - they should be about 8cm in diameter, and about 2 cm thick.
  9. Put the patties on a plate, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can leave them in the fridge for up to 24 hours. If you only want to cook a few of the patties and want to save some for another day, you can freeze some of them at this point. Wrap the spare ones tightly in clingfilm and place them in a little tub or on a tray so that they don't get misshapen as they harden, and then place in the freezer. Defrost them overnight in the freezer and eat the following day.
  10. Pour about 3 tbsp olive oil into a large frying pan (or, if you prefer, a tbsp olive oil and 25 g diced butter) over a low-medium heat. After a few minutes add the fish cakes.
  11. gently fry the fish cakes for 5-10 minutes on one side, then carefully flip over and cook for another 5 - 10 minutes. They should be firmer and brown on each side when they are done, and nice and hot throughout. Add a little more oil if they are sticking to the pan.
  12. Divide amongst warm plates and eat immediately, with your choice of vegetables and/or potatoes, and maybe some tomato ketchup (or as my Irish friends say....RED SAUCE!!! :p ) or tartare sauce alongside. :)

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